Lawmaker: NCAA should fire chief over Penn State sanctions

BY foxsports • February 11, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) The Pennsylvania lawmaker whose lawsuit led the NCAA to lift the last of Penn State's sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal said Wednesday the organization misled university officials and that its president, Mark Emmert, should be fired.

Jake Corman, the state Senate's majority leader, also said that under Emmert the NCAA exceeded its legal authority while it pursued the sanctions in 2012 in a bid to expand its own power.

Corman, whose district includes Penn State's main campus, released thousands of pages of case documents from the now-settled lawsuit and said he was sending them to the members of the NCAA's executive committee.

''If they review it carefully, they will come to the conclusion that there's a culture problem at the NCAA, and if they truly believe in their core values in their mission statement ... they will determine that Mark Emmert is no longer a credible person to lead this organization,'' Corman told a packed conference room in his Pennsylvania Capitol office.

Donald Remy, the chief legal officer of college sports' governing body, shot back at Corman, accusing him in a statement of seeking to capitalize politically on a settled matter and maintaining that the NCAA is focused on helping victims of child sexual abuse.

The NCAA agreed last month to restore 112 football wins it had stripped from Penn State and Joe Paterno following the scandal and to reinstate the venerated late coach as the winningest in major college football history. Sandusky had retired as Paterno's defensive coordinator years earlier.

The agreement lifted the last of the sanctions imposed in 2012 and settled the lawsuit by Corman and former Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord. The suit initially had sought to ensure Penn State's $60 million fine was spent on child abuse-prevention programs in Pennsylvania, rather than around the nation.

But the case transformed into a test of the legality of the sanctions before the NCAA agreed to settle it in an effort, the organization said at the time, to stop the litigation from holding up distribution of the university's fine to child abuse-prevention programs.

''It is no coincidence that (Corman's) political career was simultaneously elevated during a litigation impacting the disbursement of money to child sexual abuse victims nationwide,'' Remy said in the statement. ''In settling the litigation, the NCAA agreed to move forward so that discussions could be rightfully refocused towards child sexual abuse survivors.''

On Wednesday, Corman posted online transcripts of 16 depositions in the case - including Emmert's - and 265 exhibits, amounting to what he said is 4,900 pages.

Among them, Corman pointed to a deposition in which NCAA's executive committee chairman in 2012, Oregon State president Ed Ray, said he had never heard of the executive committee wanting to shut down Penn State's football program.

Corman also pointed to testimony by Penn State's then-president, Rodney Erickson, in which he said Emmert told him, after the July 2012 release of Louis Freeh's report on the Sandusky scandal, that many of the university presidents on the executive committee had read it.

''He said that everyone viewed this as the worse scandal ever in sports,'' Erickson's transcript said. Emmert went on to tell him that the university presidents ''want blood,'' Erickson said in his deposition. ''He said they would like to shut your program down for multiple years; never seen them so angry and upset.''

Emmert then suggested that the only way to keep the football program alive was to ''craft a package of what he said would be very, very severe sanctions,'' Erickson said in the deposition.

Days later, Erickson agreed to the NCAA sanctions, which also included a loss of some football scholarships and a temporary ban on postseason football play.

In addition, Corman accused the NCAA of having a ''culture problem'' - a reference to criticism of Penn State's football culture by Emmert - because it sought to push the boundaries of its authority by punishing Penn State.

In one internal NCAA email singled out by Corman, the NCAA's vice president of academic and membership affairs, Kevin Lennon, suggested that the NCAA was banking on the fact that Penn State officials were so embarrassed that they would agree to the sanctions.

But, he added, ''this will force the jurisdictional issue that we really don't have a great answer to that one.''


AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed to this report.



share story